There are certain moments in our life that never leave us – saying, “I do”; hearing the doctor say, “It’s a boy”; catching an emergency bulletin announcing the attack on Pearl Harbor, or the explosion of the space shuttle, or the fall of the Twin Towers. Your mind can always go back to where you were, whom you were with, and what you were doing at that specific moment in time.

Hearing the words, “you have cancer” knocks your world on end. I remember my parents traveling 200 miles to tell us in person that my mother had breast cancer. And I vividly remember watching my mother’s knees become weak when the surgeon told us my father’s cancer was lymphoma, not a simple gastric tumor. The word “cancer” affects the one who receives the diagnosis and an entire circle of individuals around them. The spouse/partner suddenly becomes a caregiver; family members take the call to action to heart and step in and often on top of each other; children become scared and worried; co-workers and friends wonder if they have what it takes to “be there” on a daily basis. And let’s face it; it’s a word that gives the majority of us the chills.

HOPE Cancer Connection was built by caring individuals with a deep desire to be there for those on the cancer journey – for the survivor as well as those around them. HOPE’s website is the one place that gives you the tools you need to navigate your way through cancer in the Fox Valley. From cancer team descriptions, advice on how to get a second opinion, local support groups that provide the “we’ve been there too” angle to where to find a wig, skin care after chemo, and programs on how to rebuild your life after cancer. HOPE offers local support in an easily navigated website that has been approved by our Medical Advisory Council. It’s a safe place to get the answers to the questions cancer brings to your life.

It’s my absolute pleasure to introduce you to HOPE Cancer Connection’s featured survivors from the valley. I hope you will take a moment to read their stories and find a connection to your own journey. Our goal is to provide the infrastructure in which existing and emerging cancer resources can be easily accessed. We hope to continuously be adding new resources to the website as we find out about more and more individuals who are hoping to making a difference in the world of the cancer survivor. We hope that you will team with us – be our eyes and ears in the valley – and let us know what resources, opportunities or events need to be added to the website.

We welcome you to HOPE Cancer Connection of the Fox Valley where we believe in supporting your journey with HOPE.

Brenda Bonn, Executive Director, HOPE Cancer Connection of the Fox Valley